Dawn of War 2′s Last Stand Stands Alone

By Alec Meer on April 20th, 2011 at 12:13 pm.

'I say, would you mind terribly if I levelled up now? No? That's jolly good of you, sir.

Well, this is rather unexpected. Then again, I’m very easily surprised: I also described the discovery of fresh bread in the cupboard this morning as rather unexpected. This really is unusual, though – Relic are to carve The Last Stand, a high-speed survival RPG mode, out of their Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II and sell it as a standalone game for $10. It’s out today, and it’s to be called The Last Standalone, which is agreeably stupid.

It’s a bloody odd thing to do – chopping your game into chunks for separate sale, but given that Dawn of War II is essentially three different games (the RPG-RTS singleplayer, the RTS multiplayer, the action-RPG last stand) wearing matching clothes it makes a certain kind of sense. Last Stand is very much the anyone can play entry point for the game, dispensing with anything like RTS in favour of high-speed co-op slaying with each player controlling just one character. Why, even John Walker could play it. But he won’t, unless we force him.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Last Stand on and off over the last couple of years, though funnily enough I’ve never been terribly sure what to say whenever I try to write about it. Despite being co-op, it’s an incredibly personal thing – all about your personal quest for loot upgrades and levelling up in the face of increasingly impossible odds. I like it a lot, and I’m confident it makes sense as its own entity even if it’s unexpected.

If you’re wondering, The Last Standalone includes all the Last Stand content from the recent Retribution expandalone pack – which means playing as whichever Warhammer 40K race most takes your fancy. You then have an option to pay a discounted upgrade to the full game if you like. Should you? Let my recent Wot I Think and the RPS Verdict guide you.

The Last Standalone will be available on Steam later today, for $10. I would write its full name, as in the tag below, but Jesus Christ. What are you thinking, Relic/THQ?

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59 Comments »

  1. Njordsk says:

    hmm yeah great, now go work on homeworld 3 will ya?

    • Mike says:

      CoH 2 please.

    • lunarplasma says:

      Tau plx.

    • Aedrill says:

      Necrons, anyone?

    • Premium User Badge

      Hanban says:

      I must ask that anyone not agreeing with Njordsk please keep their opinions to themselves. You see, they should be working on Homeworld 3. It’s very important to me. And I’ll have you know I’m a very important person.

      :(

      I want Homeworld 3 already.

    • zergrush says:

      Maybe some Dark Eldars too, while we’re at it.

    • lunarplasma says:

      Homeworld 3 + Warhammer 40k = BATTLEFLEET GOTHIC

      ..
      ..

      win

    • Dougal McFrugal says:

      homeworld 3

      yes please

    • Lord Byte says:

      What’s with all the Homeworld love. It’s just an average RTS with a crappy AI and storyline.
      The mechanics were interesting, but interesting mechanics doesn’t make a game great if the AI doesn’t use it fully. The graphics were nice though.

    • Scorpi says:

      I’m sorry, it’s just been too long since I’ve given a moose the claws and regenerative abilities of a lobster. Impossible Creatures 2, thanks.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Byte: I say this with genuine concern: Run.

  2. trjp says:

    This actually sounds quite interesting because – whilst I enjoyed the demos for DOWII, I’d never have bothered with the whole campaigns as I’m too easily distracted from such things (neither do I bother with multiplayer).

    Colour me interested…

  3. Premium User Badge

    Magga says:

    I hope their copywriters diealone.
    As I don’t have access to gfwl, I’ll have to cough up 10 bucks to play DoW2 Last Stand. Damn THQ and their scheming ways.

    • trjp says:

      How can you manage to use “their” correctly and then “there” wrongly in the same post – I mean REALLY!?

    • Creeping Death says:

      Retribution uses Steamworks, not gfwl :P

    • Premium User Badge

      Magga says:

      >> trjp
      That was merely a typo. I am sorry if I hurt your feelings.

      >> Creeping Death
      I mean I couldn’t play the original DoW2 and Chaos Rising multiplayer. But now I’ll be able to play Last Stand just for 10 dollars. Which are not included in the price of Retribution. yay.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Why couldn’t you play it? I mean it was a bit unwieldy, and occasionally slow. But worked absolutely fine.

    • zergrush says:

      Edited due to brainfart.

  4. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Dawn of War 2 uses GFWL still eh? That is the main reason I uninstalled it and never looked back

    • GigaFuzz says:

      Retribution does not use GfWL. It uses Steamworks instead.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Umm, excuse me, but is retribution stand-alone? And if you buy/only have Retribution installed do you miss out on the Dawn Of War 2 races??
      I have been meaning to pick up a few more DW2 games, but their high price is driving me away, I played DW2 to completion, somewhat enjoyed it, but not enough to put up with GfWL and steam both at the same time…

    • TormDK says:

      Dawn of War 2 – Retribution is a stand alone SKU where you get all the previous content for multiplayer purposes included.
      It does not include the single player campains from the two previous expansions, but you will get access to Chaos and IG in multiplayer.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      I swear we’ve all been over this again and again and again and again until people’s eyes have bled. Retribution is standalone and does not require GFWL.

  5. Vague-rant says:

    I quite like the title. Although, its true the whole thing is a bit of mouthful, “The Last Standalone” stands quite well, alone.

  6. Koozer says:

    I grinned at The Last Standalone.

    I’ve been wondering if they’d ever do this. I hope this means DoW III is chopped up into 3 cheaper pieces, SP, MP and Last Stand, each one given it’s own attention. The balance in Last Stand is abysmal, but damn is it fun.

  7. BooleanBob says:

    There’s no such thing as fresh bread in my experience. There’s only bread that doesn’t show visible signs of moulding.

    Here’s hoping that this sells well. I really want to see a Last Stand Standalone Expandalone.

  8. lunarplasma says:

    I wonder if they’ll support The Last Standalone with new arenas and wotnots.

    Also: agree that its name is naff.

  9. disperse says:

    Who else wants Relic to take the Dawn of War engine and simulate the turn-based tabletop game?

    • PatrickSwayze says:

      ME ME ME ME ME.

      Every unit, plus combined with something like Z-Brush so you can literally paint your units.

      You could buy the base Space Marine game and then all the other armies could be dlc…

    • Aedrill says:

      You mean the graphic engine? Count me in. But all this cover system and stuff (well, mostly cover system) would be completely useless. I think something like Blood Bowl could work.

    • TormDK says:

      Maybe with DoW3.

      We’re not quite there yet in DoW2, but I would shell out alot of cash for something like that.

    • Creeping Death says:

      Unfortunately I doubt GW would ever let them do it. After all, if you could buy a game that simulates the TT and gives you an entire army, how is GW going to get £23 out of you for a box of 10 little dudes? Or £13 for a commander

      ….

      God damn, I hate myself for spending so much in GW over the years -.-

    • DrGonzo says:

      The point is you would quite possibly get millions more people paying smaller amounts for armies, and end up making a lot more money.

    • zergrush says:

      It would probably end up like MTGO, costing at least as much money as you spend to play the tabletop version.

      I’d rather like a skirmish based game mode in which you choose your units using a point-based system and just fight or hold the objectives, not having to care about production or resources.

      And looking at the differences between DoW1 and 2, that might even be a possibility for their next 40k rts given how much relic dislikes base management ^^

  10. Mooglepies says:

    Neat. I’d still like to see this mode more fleshed out though. Last Stand is gold when you play with mates, more wargear and maps/wave variations wouldn’t go amiss though.

  11. McDan says:

    This is just silly, I really enjoy playing last stand, but I’m definitely not going to pay for it now. This is ridiculous. It was fine as it was.

    • PatrickSwayze says:

      You don’t have to.

      It’s still compatible with Retribution.

      All this means is more IG noobs begging for revives…

    • Dougal McFrugal says:

      gawd bless their little IG socks

      EDIT 3 goes to get the 3rd word right, two spelling one grammar.

      too much wine

  12. Navagon says:

    ARPG/RTT single player, surely? It can’t have changed that much since Chaos Rising. But yeah this is an odd move. I’d rather spend a bit more on the full thing in a few months when the price is predictably slashed to next to nothing.

  13. MrCraigL says:

    Tempted by this. Got DoWII on release, not that fussed. But, played Last Stand and it’s pretty great – wouldn’t mind the extra bits from the addons for it so I can play with everyone again.

  14. Premium User Badge

    mcnostril says:

    I want this to do well because we might get more DLC if it does.
    The Dark Angels thing was meh, but there’s potential there to do some awesome things (and if more of this stuff does well enough, we can get more free content on top). Games Workshop needs to stop messing them about though (voices from the warp whisper that they’re the reason the Dark Angels skin pack can’t be repainted – which does sound like the sort of non-sense GW would enforce).

  15. Vinraith says:

    Even in standalone form is it still 3-player-co-op only? I do wish they’d either let it scale to other group sizes or provide bots, I have one friend that plays DoW2 and we’d like to be able to play the thing without having to go looking for a third.

    • mwoody says:

      My brother and I had the same worry, but it turns out the matchmaking is fairly painless. Well, it’s buggy and goes down sometimes, but when it works, it’s a matter of 20 seconds or so.

      There is the huge problem of the game slowing down if anyone playing has a low framerate, though – not network lag, but literally low FPS. It seems to cap all players at the lowest’s setting, and as the waves get larger, some stutters at the outset spell doom 15 minutes down the line. I’ve learned to just apologize in chat and quit if the game slows at all in the first few rounds. I feel like a dick, but I’m just not going to put up with 45 minute games because I’m playing a slideshow (this is not an exaggeration – it’s like playing old Nintendo games using a controller with “slow” mode).

      But really, adding a bot in a game this dynamic and difficult just wouldn’t work. Victory is difficult enough that replacing one player with even a particularly intelligent AI would make eventual failure assured.

    • Vinraith says:

      @mwoody

      My brother and I had the same worry, but it turns out the matchmaking is fairly painless.

      Yeah, but playing with a friend and a stranger (even a pleasant, competent stranger) is a fundamentally different experience than just playing with friends. Sometimes I’m up for it and sometimes I’m not.

      But really, adding a bot in a game this dynamic and difficult just wouldn’t work. Victory is difficult enough that replacing one player with even a particularly intelligent AI would make eventual failure assured.

      Yeah, scaling to party size would probably be the more reasonable request. I don’t really understand fixed-party-size co-op in any game.

    • mwoody says:

      I think I forgot to express my point: I agree with you entirely, but here it didn’t bother me. I’ve never heard anyone use voice (I forget if the game even has the option,) and the game is fast paced enough people almost never type messages. So just get in vent/steam chat with your co-op buddy, let matchmaking grab another person your level, and… just forget it’s a person. In practice, it’s exactly like having an AI. It’s not even customary to say “gg” or anything like that; just never talk to them at all. It’s only an issue if they lag (network or FPS, both are problematic), quit early, or AFK (only happened once, and it took me six waves to even notice. DAMN but the Tyranid guy can be spec’d tough!).

    • Vinraith says:

      @mwoody

      Ah, point taken. I’ll have to give that a try, thanks for the advice.

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    mcnostril says:

    I also found this interesting:

    “This was originally intended to launch along side the wargear released on April 6th, the delay was mostly on the Valve side due to them being busy with Portal 2.” (from EgonSpengler on the relicnews forums)

    It does seem like this comes out a bit too long after Retribution disappeared from the spotlight.

  17. DarthNader says:

    Can they just do a Space Hulk proper and get it over with??

  18. makute says:

    So, they fixed Retribution by eliminating the barely enjoyable SP campaign, amirite?

  19. timmyvos says:

    You forgot the trademarks in the tags.
    /sarcasm

  20. lunarplasma says:

    Is it not true that The Last Standalone is for those guys who don’t want to buy Retribution but want to ‘ave a go at The Last Stand?

    • Odiorne Point says:

      Yes, that’s correct lunarplasma.

      I don’t really understand what there are any negative reactions to this. Last Stand is a great game mode, and now it’s made accessible to people who don’t want to purchase the entire stand alone expansion (which is a great expansion, in its own right). The only impact on existing owners of Retribution is that matchmaking will be even faster now, and the devs are more likely to continue support for Last Stand with DLC and balance patches if the user base is that much larger.

      Yeesh, are people just itchy to bitch at devs for no good reason because of the Valve thing? Yay for angst based on “facts” that hold no water! /sarcasm

  21. Teddy Leach says:

    The Last Standalone… Really, Relic? Really?

  22. Samwise says:

    Hmmmm, i have Dow2 and chaos rising, still playing the campaigns for them, do people play anything other than retribution online now? might get this, wouldn’t have played the competitive multi anyway i doubt, worth it?

    • SwiftRanger says:

      Retribution is definitely worth it. The campaign isn’t as focused as Chaos Rising but you do get six races to choose from now and co-op always makes it better, best to start with Orks (funniest lines ever) or SM (end of the Blood Raven saga) imo. Multiplayer and Last Stand are slick but the general P2P problems still remain, despite the GfWLive switch: if someone has performance problems then everyone has them in an online game. NAT negotiation is better though.

      A great move this. Althought there is definitely a feeling that TLS needs more (endgame/balancing) content. It could be perfect with just a few tweaks.

  23. wazups2x says:

    Never was a fan of the last stand mode, always played DoW2 for the multiplayer.